What is reciprocal IVF?

Written by: Dr Malini Uppal
Published: | Updated: 23/04/2023
Edited by: Cal Murphy

For many of us, starting a family is important. However, it’s not always easy. 


In vitro fertilisation, better known as IVF, gives a lifeline of hope to couples who have so far been unable to have a child. For same-sex couples, it raises the question of which partner will be the baby’s biological parent.


Reciprocal IVF is one option that allows two female partners to share in the process of having a child, with one partner providing the genes and the other carrying the embryo. Fertility specialist, Dr Malini Uppal, explains more. 



What is reciprocal IVF?


Reciprocal IVF, which is also sometimes known as shared motherhood, is a process to help create a family for couples who both have female reproductive organs. This method involves using IVF whereby the eggs are collected from one partner and fertilised in the laboratory. Once the embryo or embryos are created, one or two embryos are then transferred to the uterus of the other partner, hoping to result in a pregnancy.


What is the procedure for reciprocal IVF like in the UK?


The normal procedure is that the couple comes for a consultation, which involves going through a full medical history, while also discussing details of the process including stimulation, egg collection and its possible complications. Each step is discussed in detail. The ovarian reserve of the partner undergoing stimulation is also explained at this point.


Following this, is an appointment to complete all the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) forms. HFEA strongly recommends having implication counselling.


Egg collection is done under conscious sedation, performed by a transvaginal ultrasound-guided procedure. Embryo(s) created as results are then transferred to the uterus of the other partner, hoping to achieve a pregnancy.


How much does reciprocal IVF typically cost?


The cost for reciprocal IVF is similar to that of a standard IVF treatment. The variable factor is the medications used for the stimulation cycle. This is dependent on the client’s age and ovarian reserve. Sometimes, couples may require additional tests, which then can contribute to extra costs.


Can you share any success stories with us for reciprocal IVF?


We are a clinic that supports female couples (and male couples too), and we physically and emotionally share their journey towards creating a family. We are proud to say that we have been successful in several such cases resulting in pregnancy and healthy childbirth.



If you are considering reciprocal IVF, do not hesitate to visit Dr Uppal’s Top Doctors profile today to book an appointment.

By Dr Malini Uppal
Fertility specialist

Dr Malini Uppal is hugely experienced in the field of reproductive medicine and has trained over the years in several top institutions. Completing her medical training in Bangalore, India, Dr Uppal went on to gain her postgraduate diploma in prenatal genetics and foetal medicine at University College London. 

She specialises in fertility treatments, covering IVF, egg donation and egg freezing. She also is an expert in three-dimensional ultrasound scans in early and first trimester pregnancies. 

Dr Uppal is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and is also a member of the British Fertility Society.

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